Internet Crimes Task Force warns against posting holiday travel plans

By Brittany Pieper – email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Facebook or Twitter may seem like the easiest way to let all of your friends know you'll be out of town, but when you do that you never know exactly who you're talking to in cyberspace. Thomas Permenter says he's careful about putting personal information online.

"I wouldn't say that I put much on at all," said Permenter.

However, even he told his facebook friends when he left college for holiday break, and when he was gone for a party.

"Constantly. You can just scroll down and there's at least someone who's checked in somewhere or said they're going on vacation tomorrow," said Kat D'Amico about her friends' posts.

The Northwest Louisiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force says they often run across local people who give out too much information about their travel plans or current location.

"If I'm a criminal, that's a prime target. A chance for me to go to somebody's house and commit burglary," said Task Force member Robert Jones.

When Task Force members scrolled through status updates they showed one person was going to St. Louis this weekend. Another friend is on a 2 day road trip.  Information that could put you at risk if it gets in the wrong hands.

"Limit that information that you're going to give out. Especially when you're talking about things like your home or your vehicle," said Jones.

The Task Force suggests not giving exact dates, times, or locations in your status. They also warn to be careful with mobile upload pictures. A quick snapshot can tell a lot if it gives GPS coordinates or tells people that you're far away from your home.

Even if you have privacy settings turned on, you can never be too sure where your information might travel.

"Here's what kids do. They get it and they send it to one of their friends and they'll send it to one of their friends," said Jones.

The ICAC Task Force also stressed if children get a computer or cell phone for Christmas parents should take the time to discuss cyber safety with them.

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